Last week the pharmaceutical company Qualitest issued a recall for a number of their generic brand birth control pills. It seems that somehow during production, that packaging got twisted around by 180 degrees putting the inactive week pills where the first week of active pills should be and vice versa. On some packages, the error also impacted the display of the lot number and expiration dates making them unreadable. While this error cannot cause any direct negative impacts to a person’s health; it can have consequences that women using this brands will need to know.
For those of you out there who take hormonal birth control pills, you may have noticed that that last week is usually a different color. That’s to designate them as the inactive pills, meaning they do not have any hormones in them. The drop in hormones is what causes menstruation in women taking birth control pills. The moving of the inactive pills to the first week’s proper spot would cause women to take two weeks of inactive pills in a row. One week of inactive pills, at the end of a cycle is normal. Two weeks of inactive pills can cause a problem. Specifically, unintended pregnancy; so if you are taking any of these Qualitest brands:
- Cyclafem(TM) 7/7/7
- Cyclafem(TM) 1/35
- Gildess® FE 1.5/30
- Gildess® FE 1/20
- Previfem ®
Check the order of your pills, if the first week line is a different color than the rest of the pills, contact your provider to see if you need a replacement. Qualitest also has a toll free number set up if you have any questions or concerns: 1-877-300-6253.
As now the recall is only at a retail-level, meaning only doctors and pharmacies etc are impacted by it, so hopefully that means the mislabeled pills have not been widely distributed to patients yet, but it’s always good to double check.